Ever since Apple announced Sidecar, people have been going crazy with the extended productivity. If you haven’t worked with multiple displays, you wouldn’t understand the productivity boost it brings along. I have used multiple displays in the past, and it really helps extend your work space and concentrate more. And because I have an iPad Air, I was excited to try it out when Apple announced Sidecar. But, there’s one problem, I don’t use a Mac. I use a laptop running Ubuntu, and occasionally switch to Windows on the same laptop (dual boot setup).
So I did some research and found out there are several apps and services which allow you to get the Sidecar feature on any iPad (even iPhones and Android phones), and even on a Windows PC. So I decided to try it out. And because this was just a fun experiment and because I didn’t have any plans of making this an everyday event, I didn’t want to buy any app for this. So even though I came across some high rated apps for this, because they were paid, I didn’t use them. I restricted myself to the free side of things. I ended up using an app called Splashtop Wired XDisplay.
Installing Wired XDisplay
Installing Wired XDisplay is as simple as installing any other app. There are two parts though. You have to install the Windows app on your laptop or desktop. You can download the app from here. Next, you’ll have to download and install the accompanying iPad app on your iPad, from here.
Once this is done, you just have to open up both the apps, connect your iPad to your PC, and it’ll start mirroring automatically. But let’s see that in detail. And unfortunately for me, not everything was as easy as that.
The Windows App
The image above is a screenshot of the Wired XDisplay Agent for Windows. As you can see, the app says that there’s an error connecting to my iPad. But even though the app says this, I can see my laptop’s screen mirrored on the iPad. I don’t know why this is happening, maybe this is a bug in the app. But nonetheless, it started working as soon as I connected.
Also, if you can see, there’s an option to connect an Android device as well to mirror your display. I didn’t try that, you can give it a shot if you want. The app is free even on the Android platform, and you can download it from the Play Store here.
The iPad App
The iPad app is pretty simple to understand. If you have the iPad connected to your Windows PC, then the PC’s screen is just directly mirrored to your iPad. Below are a couple of screenshots I took from my iPad. And just for reference, this is on a iPad Air 2019 (5th gen). So you can imagine, it is just too small to be used as an extra display, I just wanted to know if this is possible or not.
Control your PC from your iPad
At first, I didn’t realize it, but your iPad has a touch screen display. And guess what happens when you interact with the display when you’re mirroring your PC’s screen on it? Yes, you guessed it right, you can control your PC from your iPad. I wasn’t expecting this going into the experiment, but that could be because I didn’t really go through the documentation on the product page. But this is interesting.
With this feature, I think Wired XDisplay is more like TeamViewer than Apple’s Sidecar, don’t you think so? I thought so. Not just that, I think if you sign up for a paid or enterprise plan, you can connect to your PC remotely from an iPad, and control your PC. This sounds more like TeamViewer than Sidecar. Sidecar is used only to extend your existing display on a Mac. Wired XDisplay is more than that.
But this is only mirroring
There’s one thing I have to mention. I didn’t find any way to actually extend my display. I could only mirror my laptop’s display. If this is the only way, then this becomes useless for extension. This only becomes a TeamViewer alternative. In which case, I might as well use TeamViewer.
Or maybe I’m missing something here. Maybe I’m not able to see that feature because the Agent app on my laptop is not able to properly detect my iPad. No idea. If you are able to figure that out, do let me know. For now though, I’m uninstalling the app.